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Q1) Briefly introduce the topic and its significance and introduce the case study

The topic is centred around the case of Northern Oil where the CEO of the organization felt the need to redesign their existence work place to open it up and thereby increase collaboration. The CEO aimed at increasing the collaboration as well as cut down the costs through developing a work place with an open plan. The knowledge workers are of the opinion that they require their walls along with their doors as well as their privacy. The innovative design of the office had been designed thereby developed for the head office which would be newly designed. The redesign had been about reinventing the way work and also about reducing the costs of the space.

Q2) Mention the challenges faced by Northern Oil, Emphasise the CEO's goal and vision of increasing collaboration and reducing costs and talk about recent leadership change (it said stock market reacted well to new CEO)

The priority of CEO Fritz in the reinventing project was to reduce the cost and enhance the collaboration based work. The aim was to ensure that the organizational structure is flattened and thereby provide smarter and collaborative way to work. Equal access to the workplace and facilities would be provided to the employees irrespective of their ranks in the organization. Another team raised concern during their work mode as they are used to handling a large number of confidential material and thereby have been negotiating through deals which no one would be able to know until the internal team signed the documents. With the opening up of the private office spaces questions the confidentiality of the workplace.

It has been explained by the architect Abby that the employees in such scenarios of confidentiality would have access to reserve any of the numerous enclosed rooms with a network of computers and telephones. Confidentiality between the teams and the higher authority was felt to be compromised and the employees felt that their feedback during the interview process with the architect was not taken into account. The initial mix of the private spaces in the organization comprised the employees working as engineers, geophysicists, analysts, and administrative staff. The meeting between the Northern employees and the architect contributed to a large number of opinions and dissatisfaction from the employees who were discontent about giving away their space or were not willing to accommodate the new arrangement. They felt a lack of confidentiality, comfort and declining productivity would result as a part of the outcome of the process. The employees seemed hyper-focused on whatever status symbol that they had gained over the past years and thereby the project was demanded to be scheduled down.

Q3) the initial workplace design. Summarise what was the intended plan

Open-plan layout

The idea of a wide-open interactive concept space resonated well with CEO Fritz who focused on a space which would cost less as well as support collaborative work. The open plan layout thereby is about reinventing how they work as well as reducing the cost of working with the space. The message communicated to the employees highlighted the shift in authority’s thought to develop a faster, more collaborative and smarter place. The open layout plan was considered as an initiative to ensure that the organizational structure is flattened and equal access is provided to all of the employees irrespective of their hierarchy in the organization. However, despite the fact that the intention was to develop a collaborative space, in reality, it has been reflected that the employees were not willing to give up the space that they have developed over time.

Increased meeting spaces

The redesigned meeting space had been done with the intention of fostering off-the-cuff conversation as well as casual meetings. Thrice as compared to the number of conference rooms present currently on the premises there had been a shift in focus to create a library, dining room with a view to cherish, and several small spaces for meeting, both enclosed as well as open. Such a design process of the organization has allowed the authority to flatten the structure of the organization. With such a refined and redesigned office space, members of the organization irrespective of their positions in the organization have access to every corner of the office. The priority was to eliminate private offices and enforce team collaboration.

Elimination of private offices

The authority had undertaken a design process which would eliminate the private office spaces and flatten the structure of the organization by making the entire workspace accessible to all the members of the organization. CEO claims that though he has preferred his private corner but also realises that as a team the organization would perform better than working behind closed doors. It was explained in the meeting that the lower partitions are necessary to prevent individuals from feeling claustrophobic in the new cubicles. Elimination of the private office space also affected the employees who used to work off-site most of the time and thereby would no longer have a dedicated workplace. Rather these employees would work from ‘hotel’ spaces which are located within the professional work group areas. People working in these groups earlier would reserve a particular workstation now required to move to the workplace available on the particular day with their belongings. The open plan drew criticism from the certain team like the ones of the Geodata analysis team as the floor with no distinguished room was bound to be noisy and might disrupt the job of the concerned team.

ETC

The employees of the organization had been attached to their current space which was a combination of cubicle-like workstations and a combination of private offices. The redesigning of the workplace was also done keeping in mind the cost factor. In order to increase the productivity of the core business the organization felt the need to cut down the cost. One of the concerns regarding this reframing of the space is that there are chances of the authority facing backlashes from the employees who might be unwilling to give up their private space. There has been certain general concern regarding the new redesigning of the spaces like the ones of common areas and where people would be able to display the posters and photographs. The concern was to cut down the cost and enhance the productivity of the workplace but the meeting with the initial plan seemed to be disruptive and doubts were being raised regarding the simultaneous production of quality and quantity in regard to productivity.

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